The Guardians Trilogy Review: Love, Magic & Adventure

Recently, I had a really bad itch for some good ol’ fantasy romance. I like to read across almost all genres, but my favorites are fantasy and romance, particularly when the two are put together, and I’d spent a little too long away from them. I ended up falling upon Stars of Fortune by Nora Roberts in the bargain section at a bookstore and was intrigued by the book jacket synopsis. (Check it out here on GoodReads.) To be honest, I was a little wary of picking up a Nora Roberts book because the first and only book of hers that I’d read up to that point was Morrigan’s...

March Favorites: Fairytales, Wisdom, and a Pair of Pants

March turned out to be a really lovely month. I spent a lot of time with my family and friends, went to Magic Kingdom with an adorable three-year-old who was delighted by everything, attended my cousin’s beautiful wedding, and got back in touch with my creativity after falling into a bit of a rut. One not-so-great thing that happened was a nasty cold that I got toward the end. It kicked me on my ass and I’m still recovering from it, but even something positive managed to come from that. It made me realize something. In being forced to slow down, I first experienced an onslaught of...

5 Things You Can Do to Be More Productive Right Now

Being productive is something I’ve struggled with most of my life (and still do at times). For a while, I was the girl who relied on vague plans to reach my goals and was always frustrated with how “little” time I had to pursue them. When I started writing down my New Year’s resolutions a few years ago, I noticed that a lot of the ones concerning my dreams kept repeating year after year and I wasn’t getting any closer to accomplishing them. As someone painfully aware of how fast time flies, I was disappointed in myself for slacking on the goals that mattered so much to...

Why You Should Embrace Your “Worst” Projects

I’m a perfectionist. While this trait gets a pretty bad rap, I think it can actually be a strong one once you learn how to make it work for you rather than against you. Once you tame it, so to speak. Perfectionism is only bad when you let it immobilize you. If you use it to strive for the best but know when it’s time to step away, then you’re onto something. But knowing this and putting it into practice are two very different beasts. One of the hardest experiences to cope with is when a project you put your heart and soul into ends up falling short of your expectations....

16 Quotes from Writers On First Drafts

As someone deep in the trenches of writing the first draft of a novel, I require my fair share of reminders that all the tests of willpower and sanity I’m facing are normal and, in fact, just part of the crazy sexy process. Reminders that my terrible first draft isn’t proof that I’m a terrible writer. That it’s crucial not to get caught up in editing as I write because that just interrupts the very important process of simply getting shit down on paper. That my focus should be on discovering what the story is truly about and giving myself something I can chisel, mold and polish later....

7 Reasons Being a Writer Makes You a Badass

As writers, being hard on ourselves comes as easy to us as new ideas for stories. (In fact, they’re usually a package deal.) We fall in love with our ideas, then tear ourselves apart when we fall short of the titan-sized expectations we have for them. We know our limitations intimately. Some are matters of skill, while others are just our own self-sabotaging mental blocks. They’re the coworkers we glare at while we’re working furiously toward keeping the company afloat and they’re in their cubicle, eating Cheetos, ignoring memos, and working just as hard to screw up the operation under the misguided impression that they’re “helping.” The...

Why Your Creative Process Isn’t Your Enemy

I’ve wasted a lot of time telling myself my creative process was wrong. Somewhere along the way, between being a free-spirited kid writing about her dogs and a young adult realizing that writing could be a career, I started to look at my creative process as my writing’s (and every other creative endeavor’s) enemy. The way I liked to work was something I needed to “overcome.” Something full of mistakes and bad practices that was going to hold me back from writing great books and taking great photographs and, generally, creating great art. It’s true that I definitely needed to be more disciplined. I was way too flaky...

6 POVs to Consider When Plotting a Fictional Murder

When I started writing one of my current projects, a romantic drama series (basically a soap opera), I knew one of the first things I had to sort out was a complex murder that would kick off the story. While the murder mystery is not the core of the story (as in a crime fiction), it is an important element that puts a lot of the events in motion and turns everyone’s lives upside down. My biggest challenge was figuring out how to make the murder fit into the larger picture of the story. I knew what I wanted this event to do to the characters’ lives, how I...